The SA Waypoint 2020 Gets a Turbocharge By: Clay Martin

Author with fully tuned up Waypoint

It hasn’t been all that long since we took our initial look at the Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint, the first bolt action for a familiar brand. Why are we back again so soon? Because I stand by my statement it is the best value in bolt actions, so much so that I bought one. And while the Waypoint is absolutely fantastic out of the box, I wanted to push it to its limits with some upgrades.

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New Diamond Trigger

The Waypoint already has a lot going for it. Carbon fiber adjustable stock, optional carbon fiber barrel (strongly recommended), new custom action with fluted bolt, and of course an unprecedented in industry .75 MOA guarantee. What, pray tell, could we possibly improve on with that lineup? The truth is, not much. But being in love, I wanted to push every possible bit of performance out of this rifle. We are going to be together for a long, long time.

Simple installation

The first upgrade I wanted was a lighter trigger. Is the Waypoint factory one bad? Not even a little bit. Springfield wisely chose to ship every Waypoint with a Trigger Tech trigger. We have covered Trigger Tech extensively on Guns America Digest, for good reason. Trigger Tech is by far the leader in bolt action triggers. A relatively new company, they have taken the bolt world by storm. Just two years after the release of their top-end Diamond trigger, 7 of the top 10 shooters in PRS and 6 out of the top 10 in NRL were using it. As well as 65 is percent of all PRS shooters period.

Trigger Tech not only makes an incredibly light adjustable trigger for competition nerds, but they also make an incredibly DURABLE adjustable trigger for competition nerds. In one of the rare cases where competitive equipment also means more reliable equipment, Trigger Tech has changed the game. Wait, did you just say competitive more reliable with a straight face? Yes, I did. For unique PRS reasons.

Accuracy testing day

I will readily admit that very often, competition-grade equipment sacrifices some reliability and environmental armor for performance. We especially see this in pistols. It is not uncommon to see top-end USPSA competitors cleaning their Uber Match million-dollar gun between each stage, and also walking around like a total dork with a canvas cover over the said pistol to keep it from getting dirty. PRS doesn’t work like that.

Carbon fiber camo stock

In order to have enough real estate to shoot a long-range or precision match, you generally have to go to a place with a very low population density. This is also a nice way of saying a backwater hellhole, like Western Oklahoma, Northern Nevada, or all of Wyoming that doesn’t touch Yellowstone. (And before the comments spark off, I live in one too. I prefer it in fact. Relax.) Which are also notoriously dusty and windy. Which had a habit in the past of devastating tightly built, precision bolt action triggers.

Fluted Waypoint bolt

Trigger Tech changed the game with their patented frictionless, free-floating roller. They in fact have a picture of their Diamond caked in sand in their catalog, and it still works. Trigger Tech quickly developed a reputation of being not only more reliable than custom light triggers but being more reliable than your old springs and widgets factory bolt triggers too. In short, if you have to gamble on a trigger going bang in any condition, Trigger Tech should be the one you lay your money on.

Springfield could have made their gun $200 cheaper by putting in a 5th rate Remington knock-off trigger, but they opted for the Trigger Tech field instead. So why are we changing that? Well, the only thing that can beat a Trigger Tech is a MORE AWESOMER Trigger Tech. Fortunately, they make a wide range. The Field trigger is more than sufficient for most shooters, as well as the name implies, for field-type shooting. It is adjustable from 5 to 2.5 pounds, which is probably plenty for hunting. But Trigger Tech also makes a Diamond, adjustable from 4 ounces to 32 ounces. Since we are trying to squeeze every millimeter of accuracy out of our Waypoint, the lighter trigger makes sense.

Tested with Hornady ELD-X

The second feature we wanted to upgrade was the muzzle brake. Again, the Waypoint comes with an excellent muzzle brake, for the intended user. The factory one is a radial brake, which does an excellent job of mitigating recoil. For any type of field position, it does a fantastic job of reducing signature and recoil. However, for our accuracy testing bit, it does present a small problem. If you are laying in the perfect world prone trying for teeny tiny groups, the fact that the brake also pushes gasses down is not ideal. In our initial testing, I kept having my sight picture obscured by pine needles and dust.

Very respectable accuracy

Our solution? An Area 419 Hellfire self timing muzzle brake. Area 419 is also a big player in the precision world, from reloading presses to a wide variety of extremely well-built muzzle brakes. They have brakes for every application, and we in fact have some other reviews coming up for SBRs and suppressor mounts. We chose a relatively small brake, the two port, to replace the Waypoints factory option.

Horus 5-20

The best thing about the 419 brake is the ease of installation. For a gun we also want to suppress later, we didn’t want to mess around with shims and other nonsense. The 419 brake, as the self-timing name implies, is child’s play to install. It is the most brilliant mounting solution I have ever seen. When we were looking for a brake, I asked Area 419’s owner if it was idiot resistant, as I suck at gunsmithing. He assured me that if I could hold two wrenches and read at a 3rd-grade level, I could install the Hellfire. And he was right.

The Area 419 brake did a wonderful job of mitigating recoil, as well as diverting the gasses away from the shooter. It has been extremely dry in my area, and I was shooting in grass cut weeks ago. Despite what should have been vicious conditions for my eyeballs, I didn’t even notice while shooting the new install. I highly recommend this brake not only for bolt actions but for anything you have that expels exhaust gasses like a Saturn Rocket.

With our new upgraded Waypoint in hand, off to the range we went. And the performance enhancements were worth every penny. The newly set 1 pound Diamond trigger was scary light, even for a semi-pro such as myself. It is so good in fact, that it took a little getting accustomed to stop chucking flyers. With no creep, this gun now goes off the second you think about pulling the trigger. And the brake makes the recoil non-existent.

We tested with a Horus 5-20 Tremor 3, which also happens to be a good value in rifle scopes today. Our ammunition of choice was Hornady 143 grain ELD-X. I hate to burn 143’s on testing, but we had a reason. In my experience, the ELD-X line is the only hunting bullet that also provides match-grade accuracy. So while we were testing for capability this time, I was also lining up my deer season gun. The Waypoint and Hornady combo turned in an impressive .46 MOA group, and that is with me still adjusting to the super-light trigger.

All in all, this is a combo made in gun heaven. I can’t wait to get my Waypoint out for hunting season. It is so light and agile that you almost don’t notice it walking around the woods. With its newly upgraded trigger and brake, it outperforms most custom shop guns costing 2 to 3 times as much. As an all-around hunting and tactical gun, the Waypoint sets a new standard. Look for it later this fall as we get into filling the freezer.